Tuesday, March 28, 2006
11:33AM - HELP! Pro Audio
HELP! My new site ProAudioOp.com has had over 1100 visitors from 7 different countries in just the last two weeks! The problem is that we are VERY new and need people like YOU to write product reviews. Write about your experience with ANY and ALL audio gear.... recording products, mics, amps, software, compressors, processors, in-ear systems, vintage gear, consoles, etc. A link to your business or website will be includedwith your review and I only expect the traffic to INCREASE. What a great opportunity to grow your credibility in the music biz! Go to the site and read the first review at the "studios" link. If you want to check out the site, the first review or are willing to write a review go to http://www.proaudioop.com. Click on "reviews" to get started. JJ
Saturday, March 25, 2006
10:21AM - STILL NEED AUDIO REVIEWS
We still need reviews for ProAudioOp. Looking for reviews on everything and anything. Check out the site http://www.proaudioop.com and go the the link for posting reviews. Our first review posted under the "studios" section... it's cool.
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
11:49AM - Pro Audio Op OPEN for Business
Pro Audio Op is newest pro audio review site on the web.
Your pro audio product reveiws are wanted, feedback on how we could
improve the site or your cheerful comments on why Pro Audio Op
rocks would be great! We are working towards making Pro Audio Op the
default pro audio review site on the web and we can't do it without you.
The "Op" part of our name stands for opinion. So when you check out
a product review you should keep in mind that everything you read is
based on the personal experience of the end user. The creators of
Pro Audio Op are not responsible for the opinions expressed on this
site but merely moderate the forum. Our first review just posted
yesterday in the "studios" section of the site!
If you work with pro audio equipment and feel that your review could
be helpful to our readers we'd love to hear from you. Visit
http://www.proaudioop.com and Click the "Submit Review" link to get
started. Or, just stop by and read what other people are saying!
Wednesday, March 8, 2006
10:19PM - Rolling Stones... UNDER 30?
I'm just looking for a few opinions here. About sixty days before The Super Bowl a casting call went out to some of my agent friends. It was announced that The Rolling Stones needed people to be in their floor audience during their performance during half time at The Superbowl. It specified that participants would be paid a stipen and had to be UNDER 30 years old.
Huh? Under 30? I don't think that anyone under 30 could remember when the better Stones tunes were released. It's not like their coming out with new material that's climbing the charts. I suppose the under 30 folks probably catch the Rolling Stones on some classic rock station somewhere... but why under 30?
Admittedly the kids I know, ages 13 to 30, prefer bands like Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, The Clash, Aerosmith, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones to a lesser extent. And I do see younger people wearing Pink Floyd t-shirts all the time. What I don't get is this; the average person watching The Super Bowl is probably not under 30. The typical Rolling Stones fan is probably not under 30 either. So, why the youthful brand marketing for the Stones? What are they trying to accomplish? Have they sold all the merchandise and CDs they possibly can to their original now 40 to 60 year old audience? What could The Rolling Stones probably gain by paying an audience that would be significantly younger than most of their grown children? Hmmmmm. I would love to hear your opinion.
Tuesday, March 7, 2006
10:57AM - PRO AUDIO REVIEWS WANTED
Gearheads... sound engineers... recording engineers... studio owners... installation gurus... I WANT YOUR OPINION for a new site called ProAudioOp.
ProAudioOp is going to be a review site for pro audio equipment of all kinds i.e. Microphones, effects processors, amplifiers, speakers, pre-amps, etc. If you are working in the industry, this is a chance to brag, sound off, or simply share your qualified opinion. If you write a review, I will include a link to your site or blog if your review is posted. I would also welcome your input as to what YOU would like to see in a site like this. We are trying to create a very informative site for people just like you and have it available for viewing within the next 90 days.
You may write new reviews or post reviews written in the past as long as you are the original author. Please just try and include the following if applicable:
Where you are located (just the city/state or region/country is fine):
What you do and how long you've been at it (studio owner, live sound, recording, recording artist, club/studio installation):
Your web or blog address:
The one specific product you are reviewing:
What you use the product for (traditional/non-traditional uses fine):
Other uses you would recommend the product for:
The reliability of the product:
Ease of use:
The up/down side of using the product:
How the product compares with other products you have used in the past:
The compatibility of the product with other gear:
Where you can find the product:
Copy and paste your review into the body of an email and send to: email@example.com
I'm looking forward to hearing from you!
Friday, March 3, 2006
1:33PM - Count To Two
If you are in sales or customer service, listening may be one of the toughest things you have to do. We learn to ask really great questions, but we aren't quiet long enough to even get an answer. So, after asking a question, what should we do?
The answer is BE QUIET. Resist the urge to jump in with another question or talk about your product. Don't start to raddle off features and benefits of the product/service or try to overcome an objection you didn't even hear. Most people take time to think before they speak, and depending on a person's personality, some take longer than others. If you are outgoing, most people will speak at a slower pace so anticipate a few seconds of silence when you ask a question.
The next time you interact with a customer practice silently counting to two after you ask a question. After you feel they have finished answering your question, count to two again. You can assure they are done speaking and they may even offer more information.
Friday, February 24, 2006
2:08PM - BUTTONS
The wascally wabbit leaves the cockpit of the space ship. He pleads with the co-pilot, "Whatever you do, DON'T PUSH THIS BUTTON!". As the bunny walks away, the button is pushed. Alarms and sirens ring out. The bunny and co-pilot are thrust against the wall of the ship as it spirals toward Earth.
Here is some food for thought about buttons.
-It is tempting to push a button.
-Some buttons are more tempting than others.
-Sometimes you don't know what will happen when you push a button.
-Whenever you are uncomfortable, there is a button somewhere nearby to tempt you.
-Some people are better at pushing buttons than others.
-There is usually a consequence for pushing a button.
-It is tempting to deny you pushed the button.
-The more familiar you are with a person, the more buttons seem to appear.
-Some buttons are off limits.
-Pushing buttons can make you feel temporarily powerful.
-Once in a great while, buttons are bumped instead of pushed.
-We usually have some sort of warning right before we are about to push a button
-Sometimes you can't repair the damage pushing a button can cause.
-It's easy to lose your cool when the button is pushed.
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
5:17PM - OOOOH THOSE EXPECTATIONS
It was a Saturday at noon and the phone rings at Lisa's apartment. It was Joe on the phone, Lisa's boyfriend. He tells Lisa that he would like to hang out for a few minutes. Lisa agrees to meet him at a local coffee shop.
Lisa arrives at the scheduled time and sees Joe standing in line to get a drink. Lisa is a little disappointed because she feels Joe should have waited for her to arrive before he ordered. Lisa joins Joe in line, they order, and Joe pays for her coffee. Although Lisa thanks him, she can't help but think that he should have waited for her.
Lisa and Joe find a table and sit down. Just as they begin to talk, Joe's older brother Bob plops down with them and takes a slurp of Joe's drink. He cheerfully thanks Joe for the drink and joins the conversation. Lisa is irritated with Bob's intrusion and grows increasingly intolerant of Joe's brother. Whispering to Joe, she asks if they could go for a walk and possibly hang out with Bob some other time. Joe grabs Lisa's hand and asks Bob to excuse them for a moment.
"Lisa, I don't know what's going on here, but you seem to be upset. I thought it might be nice just to hang out for a while but not with this attitude. You seemed irritated from the time you arrived."
"Well, I was a little irritated. I got here and you were already in line. You didn't even wait for me to get here before you ordered. It felt awkward when you paid for my coffee because if I had walked in 2 minutes later, I would have bought my own. After we finally get a table, your brother just decides to join us. You didn't even say anything. I thought we were going to hang out, just us two, and I felt like you weren't even disappointed when he joined in on the conversation."
"Hey Lisa, I don't know what you were expecting, but I didn't say anything about us being alone. Secondly, Bob and I have been here for a half hour. I called you from his cell phone because he suggested it. About the being in line thing, Bob had already gotten me a drink so I was returning the favor. Maybe you didn't realize it, but Bob drove me here because my car is being repaired. Bob was nice enough to drive me here, wait until my car was fixed, and was even willing to hang out with his little brother and girlfriend. And to make matters worse, you've been rude to him. I think you owe us both an apology."
It is appropriate to have expectations at certain times. It is important to understand when to expect specific behaviors and how we should communicate our expectations, keeping in mind that when we are disappointed, it is usually based on an assumption or expectation that was never communicated. Our disappointments are typically of our own making.
In a loose sense, expectations come in all sorts of forms and types. Rules for example, are a type of expectation. Most adults understand by definition, that they are expected to follow rules. Most managers or companies write their rules down somewhere, usually in a company handbook or within a memo. There are normally consequences when rules are not followed. Another type of expectation is a goal. Goals are certainly not rules but, in a way, are expectations. When a team sets goals, there is usually a time line established and a set of actions defined and assigned to specific people or departments. Ideally, the team stays in communication with one another and they adapt their plan as needed, always keeping their objectives or goals in mind. They know the expectations and agree to them. Rules and goals work when everyone understands the objective or desired outcome. Rules are pretty simple. They can be accepted by most people pretty easily because most of us have been trained to "follow the rules" from the first day of preschool on. Meeting goals are pretty simple too, that is if everyone understands the objective, wants the same things, and the lines of communication stay open. Expectations in general are much the same. If all the parties involved understand that first, there is an expectation of some sort and secondly, that they are expected to do something or act in some specific way, it works out- but only if everyone wants the same thing.
So, for an expectation to be realistic:
a) All the parties involved must understand that the expectation exists
b) All the parties involved understand that the expectation requires that they are supposed to act in some specific way
c) All the parties involved agree that the expectation is what they want, no matter what their motive
Lets look at the case of Lisa, Joe, and his brother Bob again. Each time Lisa became disappointed, it was based on an assumption with an expectation attached that was not met. First, she assumed that Joe had called her from home or somewhere other than the coffee shop. She also assumed they were meeting alone. She was offended when Joe was in line as she arrived because she assumed he got there as she did. She also assumed that Joe drove to the coffee shop on his own and that Bob was an intruder at their table. This is a classic example of how we somethimes set ourselves up to be disappointed. In this case Lisa was completely responsible for her unhappiness. Joe and Bob did not understand that any expectations existed, they didn't realize that they were supposed to act in some specific way, and could not possibly have agree that they wanted what Lisa wanted- they had no way of even knowing the expectation existed in the first place.
Unfortunately, we can set ourselves up in much the same way at the office if we aren't aware of our assumptions. In the case of our character Lisa, is likely that she did not understand that she assumed anything at all. This is key- becoming aware of our natural tendency to assume things with people, places, or things we are familiar with. There is no reason to completely avoid assuming certain things- for example you might be safe to assume that the conference table and chairs will be in the meeting room tomorrow because they have always been there in the past, but it may not be smart to assume that your boss will be at a meeting you are presenting at when you have never given a presentation before. No precedent has been set so there is nothing to base the expectation on. You are familiar with your boss and you may be tempted to assume something about his character or management style that would lead you to believe he would attend your first presentation; but you cannot make that assumption. Your boss may be committed to other activities or may feel that it would be good for your confidence to go it on your own. There could be a million reasons he would not attend and no real reason he might; none other than your unreasonable assumption that he'll be there. Your boss doesn't attend and you are likely to become angry and hurt. And who is responsible for your pain? You are. No one else. If you behave badly as a result of your hurt, it only complicates things further.
We can't nor should we stop making assumptions completely, but the awareness that some expectations are rational while others are not can help us avoid feeling angry or hurt. It is human nature to feel that we "know" people or believe that we can predict how they may behave. And It can be argued that past behavior can predict future behavior- but not every time, no matter how well we know a person. When we are wrong about our assumptions, we get disappointed. The number of expectations we have on the people in the world will be exactly proportionate to the degree of happiness we experience. Think about Lisa, Joe, and Bob. I hope the story looks different now then it did when you first read it.
Julie Johnson- AH HAH!
PS : View my segment on Clear VS Muddy Communication
1. Don't take yourself too seriously. If you can't laugh at yourself, you are NOT a cool cat. Self-importance is not a cool cat trait.
2. Don't be possessive. If you are possessive of people, their attention, things you own, things you might own- you will chase them away- it's a life law. Cool cats are NOT emotionally immature or self-centered.
3. Don't dwell on negative things. The things you think about become your reality and you will attract the things you think about- maybe more of what you don't want. Cool cats practice looking for the good in life.
4. Don't be afraid of being wrong. You can't take risks if you are afraid of making a mistake.( It also makes it IMPOSSIBLE to resolve conflicts.)
5. Don't act like you are God. Cool cats are not perpectually disappointed and do not believe that their expectations in a given situation will somehow magically unfold. Cool cats are flexible, they adapt, and expect nothing.
6. Don't hold grudges. Cool cats are not bitter or constantly offended. Cool cats do not believe that every action in the universe is directed toward them.
CHALLENGE: Take each "don't" statement and make it a "do" statement.
Write the statements down on paper. You will have to really think.
EXAMPLE: (using statement #5) I only have control over my own behavior. I will make plans but I will not expect the circumstances to unfold in any particular way or place conditions on my happiness. I will roll with the punches when things are not as I expect they should be. I will never be disappointed.
Sometimes it's hard to be a cool cat. Try concentrating on just one statement each week. I find it helpful to keep the statement I'm focused on in plain site as I make my way through my normal day. Try taping an index to your desk or work area, to the dash of your car, or to your bathroom mirror. If you're not a cool cat all the time, don't sweat it. It's something to work toward. Just remember, cool cats are happy cats!
Monday, February 20, 2006
A site dedicated to the business of inspiring, educating, and motivating through music, speech, art, and performance. You are encourage to join the associated GoogleGroup below as well as visiting the site.
This one is not a diary for sure. Read the article about filing taxes for musicians, performers, "the creative and self-employed", etc. You are encouraged to share your experience.
Read the article about filing taxes for musicians, performers, "the creative and self-employed", etc. You are encouraged to share your experience.
No diaries, no gossip, no BS... just useful info for creative people.
BigSky Marketing YahooGroup
If you are in the entertainment biz... on the stage or behind it... making it happen or being the happening... this free YahooGroup is for you.
A cool entertainment portal run by the booking goddess of the Midwest, Sherry Thoma. You can find show schedules, addresses, email addresses, and contact info for clubs all over Ohio.
A NOTE FROM MIKE... AWESOME COOL SOUND AND RECORDING ENGINEER FROM OHIO
I started dabbling in sound when I was 14 years old and running sound for a band called Milestone 3 years later. By the time I hit 20, I found myself as the lead guitarist with a band called Unit 5. We were signed with Clone Records and even hit #1 for a whole week in Nice, France (after we had broke up)!
I certainly loved playing but I have really had a blast recording and running sound for the last 25 years... or so. I have an extensive amount of live sound experience with rock and pop acts, jazz players, symphonies, country artists, and public speakers. Some of my past clients... the Cairo Opera and Cairo Symphony Orchestra, The Raspberries, The Virginia Symphony Orchestra, The Twistoffs, Pinki Mojo, Alexis Antes, and Dink are a few... and you may be next.
If it's a PA or professional sound installation you're after, I have a lot of experience with installing sound systems for homes, clubs, studios, churches, restaurants, hospitals, and schools. Drop me a note and we can talk about what you may need. You can email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
West Akron Recording and Sound
AUTHORIZED DEALER; Horizon Music, Auralex Acoustics, and CGM Music Inc.
Great prices on high quality speakers, instruments, DI's, connectors, wire, studio foam and sound diffusion products, and cables.
In Northeastern Ohio:
Horizon Music http://www.horizonmusic.com
Auralex Accoustics http://www.auralex.com/
CGM Music Inc. http://www.cgmmusic.com
SPECIAL! WHADA DEAL
RECORD YOUR BAND LIVE
3 songs professionally mixed
3 CDs of your mixes included
You keep all of your tapes
$199.00 plus tape
(additional mixes, track replacement, extra CDs, graphics, and digital video available.)
CALL ME SOON 'CAUSE I MIGHT JUST CHANGE MY MIND ON THIS ONE.
I record at Closer Look Recording Studio in Cleveland, Ohio
Click here to READ THE ARTICLE I wrote about Closer Look. It says it all.
Have any of you explored broadcasting your own Podcast? Most of the information available of the web is presented with the assumption that you understand terms like server, upload, download, ipod, MP3, streaming, and some other jargon you will stumble across. In looking at the specifics of creating a file that can be broadcast, it seems that recording a Podcast is quite simple- that is if you understand basic recording and you want to keep things real simple. (It's not all that different than recording a radio show.) Marketing a Podcast doesn't seem too terribly different from marketing a website, group, or blog. For me, things get a little fuzzy is when you want to upload your Podcast to a server, knowing what amount of memory will be required, and how much that part of it will cost.
I suppose this Podcast thing seems a little complicated but with all of the Blogs, websites, and groups on the web that have become so widly popular, there is some reason for all the work. I can see an incredible opportunity to reach very large audiences and the ability to generate advertising dollars as you build traffic from a pretty specific world wide audience that you can easily keep track of- and that is probably why people are getting involved with Podcasting. It seems sort of like radio with a kick. We will all be eager to hear from those of you that have crossed into the realm of the Podcast. Post your feedback in the guestbook.
Julie Johnson- AH HAH!
I am a singer/songwriter, motivational speaker, corporate trainer, producer, and writer.... creative and basically self-employed. Every year at about this time I used to scramble around in a panic looking for any receipts and estimating mileage for my taxes... well... not really, it was generally in April. After crossing some magic threshold into adulthood (turning 35 or something like that) I started going to one of the "companies" to get my taxes done... you know, instant refunds, etc. I thought it was great. They slammed all the info I gave them into a computer and presto!... a refund in my hot little hands within a few days. That process did put me back a couple of hundred bills each year but in my vast experience, it seemed pretty normal.
Well here it is pushing March and I want to share my 2005 experience to save you some cash. I don't know how it came about, but I got into this conversation about getting my taxes done. You know, my annual experience of waiting until the last minute, paying about $300, and getting a check within a few days.
Upon recommendation, I went to a CPA. YES, CPA, certified public accountant... and NO, CPA doesn't HAVE to be expensive. FYI... it was NOT like a visit to the dentist. Last year and last week, my tax preparation cost me LESS than half of what I had paid at that place you see all the tv commercials about. Another cool thing? I got more money back because the CPA UNDERSTOOD how to find deductions for us self-employed, musical, creative types. What I learned is that MOST people are NOT self-employed, (even on a part-time basis) so it may be a good idea to see a tax expert so you can get the most back from Uncle Sam. Some people don't realize that you can deduct things like the cost of stage clothing, mileage to and from shows, office supplies like paper and printer ink, guitar strings, stage props, batteries, sound costs, your web cost, etc.
The ONLY down side to using my CPA is that I have to a couple of weeks to get my refund check back. (The CPA explained to me that she didn't offer instant refunds because she felt it cost the customer so much.) In the end, my visit to my CPA cost me $100.00 (1/3 of what I used to pay). I'll be getting my refund in about a week now and I have the peace of mind of knowing that I'm probably not going to set off any red flags that might cause an audit or something and that I am getting the full benefit of all of my deductible expenses.
This is NOT a commercial but I have had a VERY good experience with using a CPA. I suppose I could do my own taxes to save money (yeah right) but that won't happen and what does it matter as I'm not paying through the nose anymore at one of those franchised places. From my experience, I would recommend that you don't put off your taxes this year, that you stay away from those heavily advertised places (guess who's paying for that advertising), and that you call a good CPA. Just try it once.
If you are in the Akron/Canton/Cleveland area, call Sue Comko at(330) 940-3950 or email her at email@example.com if you are out of the area. She's got my business for life. And it's painless... I promise.
PS: My CPA even came out to see my band!
Julie Johnson- AH HAH!